Castle Hill and Balsdean Healthwalks

A year or more ago, realising I was studying the downs from the comfort of a chair via the Internet, I decided to become a Brighton Healthwalk leader. It is an excellent way for me to get off my bottom, get some exercise, whilst informally sharing some of my local and natural history knowledge of the Balsdean and Kingston Downs. I regularly co-lead the Tuesday morning Castle Hill Nature Reserve walk, and the Woodingdean to Rottingdean Walk via Bullock Hill and the Balsdean Valley, which happens every second Saturday of the month.

Last summer I lead a successful history themed walk covering the prehistoric, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and early twentieth century histories of the Balsdean Downs and Castle Hill nature reserve. From prehistoric burial mounds to the WW2 destruction of the medieval deserted village that was Balsdean, by way of the 1868 murder of David Baldy. Included were a number of old pictures and photos of the manor farmhouse, chapel and other former buildings lost during British and Canadian training exercises after its requisition by the military in 1942. And much, more…

And it was so successful I was asked to lead three more, which I have added to my calendar on this blog’s homepage:

Walk 1: Castle Hill History Walk. Sunday 15th December 2019, 10.00 am.
David Cuthbertson tells of the fascinating history of this beautiful nature reserve, from prehistory to WW2. Visit the site of Newmarket Farm, birthplace of his mum and location of 1868 murder! 2.7 miles; 2 hours.

Walk 2: Bullock Hill History Walk. Monday 10th February 2020, 10.00 am.
Learn how Brighton in 1920’s stopped Oscar Selbach from spoiling our Downs. Walk down his WW1 German p.o.w. built road, past failed housing estates, to his Balsdean Manor Pig Farm. And more! 4.2 miles; 2.5 hours. (Or an easier 4.7 miles; 2 3/4 hours.)

Walk 3: Balsdean History Walk. Sunday 29th March 2020, 10.00 am.
From Bronze age ranching, via deserted Medieval village of Balsdean, to Tudor Close Hotel, Rottingdean, favourite of Hollywood stars and birthplace of Cluedo! 4.9 miles; 3 hours.

For further information:

4 replies on “Castle Hill and Balsdean Healthwalks”

Thanks Kevan. I have now added dates and times. I will also add a link to the Healthwalks Winter Programme as soon as the Council updates their website in the next few days.

I have taken some time out from leading Healthwalks during the Covid19 epidemic – catching up with other commitments. Perhaps it is time to return (socially distanced of course). I’ll post on my blog when I do. Stay safe 🙂 David

This is a fascinating blog. I hope to catch you on a Castle Hill and Balsdean walk. I’ve been there once and knowing the history brings an added dimension. Castle Hill was particularly beautiful.

Many thanks,


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